Though they’d been friends for years, it took an invitation to their high school’s junior prom for Eileen Sutton and Teddy Braha to put an official title on their relationship. The rite of passage sealed the deal, though, and in January of 2015, Teddy had another invitation for Eileen, this time to his office’s belated holiday party. “In retrospect, I should have been suspicious!” Eileen says. They arrived at 1 Wall Street and were escorted to the Red Room, the building’s private (and stunningly tiled) former lobby. “I was so shocked and captivated by the room’s mosaic ceiling that Teddy had to tell me to look down at the floor,” says Eileen — who then saw “Will You Marry Me?” spelled out in rose petals.
The bride had always dreamed of marrying at the New York Public Library. “I spent a lot of time in the main reading room, working on college papers with books that couldn’t be checked out,” she says. “The steps, the hallways, and the glass ceiling of the forum have always enchanted me.” The Library, however, only allows civil ceremonies, so on the afternoon of April 17, 2016, 350 guests gathered at nearby Gotham Hall to witness the couple’s Jewish ceremony before heading to the library for a classic, colorful reception. “We really wanted to let the beauty of the space shine through,” says Eileen of the white color scheme accented with pops of fuchsia. These high school sweethearts’ celebration was what formal New York wedding dreams are made of — check out the stunning design by Norma Cohen Productions and David Beahm and the photos by Christian Oth Studio, below!
Classic calligraphy and a gold monogram graced the deckle-edged invitation suite, with the soft edges adding personality to the simple design.
Pale pink satin Giuseppe Zanotti sandals gave Eileen some height beneath her drop-waisted Monique Lhuillier wedding dress, with a delicate lace bodice and appliques throughout the skirt. “We had originally planned to move the skirt up to my natural waist, but when it arrived, I knew keeping the dropped waist was a go. It was such a masterpiece already, I didn’t want to tamper with it!” She topped her loose waves with a halo-style headpiece and carried a bouquet of light pink roses and white peonies.
Teddy complemented Eileen’s ball gown in a traditional black tuxedo from Ralph Lauren. Both the bride and groom wore new watches, with hers being a gift from his parents and his a gift from hers.
The groomsmen looked sharp in traditional tuxes, while the bridesmaids all wore shades of blush, silver, and pale blue. Eileen topped her gown with an off-the-shoulder three-quarter sleeve bolero for the ceremony. “I loved it so much, I almost didn’t take it off for the reception,” she says.
The ceremony took place beneath Gotham Hall’s towering rotunda. With cherry blossoms in season, it was an easy choice to build a chuppah out of the sprawling white blooms. Gold chivari chairs were arranged in a circle around the altar, giving every guest a perfect view.
“Vows aren’t always exchanged in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony,” says Eileen. “Instead, my father spoke, reading parts of a letter I’d found that I wrote to Teddy on our one-year anniversary in 2010.”
As guests arrived at the library for the party, they saw the steps covered in glowing candles. “When we’d arrived to take photos before the ceremony, the steps were covered with tourists. They all congratulated us and were snapping pictures — I think it’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a celebrity!” Eileen remembers.
Inside, the forum was lit in shades of blue and purple, with glowing candles and floral patterns projected on the walls. The tables featured cascades of white orchids in clear vases, while the bars were decorated with towering ombré pink arrangements. Round banquettes surrounded the dance floor, topped with fuchsia orchids. The centerpiece, though, was the towering wedding cake: A vanilla and coconut confection covered in fondant flower petals.
Each table was set with a silver linen, clear chargers, and fuchsia napkins embroidered with the newlyweds’ monogram.
One of Eileen and Teddy’s favorite moments took place just before the ceremony. “We had just finished taking photos and were so hungry,” she says. “Someone brought us munchkins and iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, and one of my favorite pictures from our wedding day is of me trying to eat a munchkin in my wedding dress without ruining my lipstick!”
As the couple took to the dance floor for their first dance, the violinists from the ceremony surrounded them and played “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding.
In addition to their six-tiered cake, the bride and groom also served two smaller cakes, also decorated in sugar flowers, alongside truffles, cookies, cake pops, and cupcakes in shades of silver and white. How’s that for a sweet ending?
“My best advice would be to have back-up shoes,” says Eileen. “I had planned to wear my sandals all night, and had wedge sneakers just in case. But I ended up changing out of them after photos, before our ceremony had even started! My gown covered them completely, and it meant I was able to stay on the dance floor all night.”
Ceremony Venue: Gotham Hall
Reception Venue: The New York Public Library
Wedding Planner: Norma Cohen Productions
Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Monique Lhuillier
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti
Hair: Lisa Mitchell
Makeup: Lynette Broome
Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren
Event Design & Flowers: David Beahm Designs
Invitations: Paper Moon
Music: Curtis Music; Faks Productions
Catering: Foremost Caterers
Cake: L'estis Desserts
Wedding Stylist: Gloria Nakash
Videographer: Fred Marcus
Photographer: Christian Oth Studio